Ten percent of gay men placing personal ads on Craigslist are looking specifically for a same-sex encounter with a non-gay-identified (NGI) man -- that's one of the things discovered by Dr. Eric Schrimshaw, an assistant professor of sociomedical sciences whose most recent study investigates the desirability of NGI men.
A lot of research has been carried out to better understand the behaviors and psychology of NGI men who have sex with men and women. But Dr. Schrimshaw and his fellow researchers at the University of Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health were more interested in the gay men who seek out NGI partners.
Researchers reviewed more than 1,200 Craigslist personal ads, and analyzed 282 of them -- roughly half of which specifically stated a preference for encounters with NGI men, the other half did not mention NGI men.
In addition to confirming a subset of gay men specifically seeking encounters with NGI men, the research also showed such ads were less likely to mention a preference for safe sex or condoms, compared to other non-NGI same-sex ads.
Language in the NGI-seeking ads, researchers said, suggested that gay men tended to appreciate the discreetness and increased masculinity offered by NGI partners.
"This suggests that these men are more likely to be looking for and willing to engage in sex without a condom which may place them at greater risk for HIV/STI transmission than men who are not seeking non-gay-identified male partners," said Dr. Schrimshaw. "Future research on NGI-seeking men could lead to better understanding of their risk behaviors which, in turn, could be helpful for developing and targeting HIV/STD prevention and intervention efforts."
Dr. Schrimshaw and his research partners are hopeful that further investigations can offer a better idea of how successful NGI-seeking gay men are in finding willing partners.
"Regardless of any study limitations, the research has allowed us to document the existence of a subgroup of men who actively seek out sexual encounters with men who do not identify as gay," added Dr. Schrimshaw.
The details of Dr. Schrimshaw's investigation were published recently in the inaugural issue of the journal Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, put out by the American Psychological Association.
[Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity]